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Refuting the “Gift of Gibberish” Tongues

Dr. Mike Johnston

Charismatics snub correction by claiming those who oppose them do so in ignorance because they haven’t had THE “experience.” That isn’t true here. I understand the spiritual gifts and tongues issue very clearly. I was a practicing Charismatic for the first few years after I was saved (1975) and an avid apologist for the gibberish movement. Since I was a partaker in this experience, I made it my business to ignore any unspiritual oaf trying to correct me with evidence. Frankly, that was easy. I enjoyed very much the special feelings of spirituality that accompanied being a member of what I’d been told was the enlightened few who sought and received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”. After all, I’d been singled out for a universe of expectation where anything is possible, and the more bizarre the better. Extemporaneous words of knowledge, tongues, and interpretations – even those conflicting with Scripture – flowed constantly from circus like meetings where so called “prophets” stood and almost shouted predictions that were seldom fulfilled.

However, in this “anything is possible” atmosphere, NOTHING was to ever be challenged if it was performed under the “Jesus name tag”.

Then one day, when the inner nagging got the best of me I decided to study spiritual gifts and the Charismatic claims outside of anyone’s influence. My suspicion was corroborated. Here’s what I found.

The Purpose of Tongues

Everything God does is with purpose (Eph. 1:11). Tongues are no different; they were a sign to unbelieving Israel (1 Cor. 1:22; 14:22; see Isa. 28:11-12). My friend, lest we forget, Israel was chosen to herald God’s goodness to the world and Jesus was the promised Messiah of a glorious coming earthly kingdom. However, knowing they would reject Him, the Lord Jesus instituted a parenthetical group known as the church Body of Christ (Romans through Philemon) to carry on His message up until the “fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).

Two facts stand out in the five major passages dealing with tongues (Acts 2; 19:6; 1 Cor. 12, 14; and Mark 16:17): They were always “known languages of the world”, and unbelieving Jews were in view as a sign: Acts 2 tongues are given to validate Peter’s message–Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 10 confirms Gentile salvation which Jews would otherwise reject. Acts 19 validates the conversion of some of John’s disciples. In 1 Corinthians 12-14, they signify Messianic fulfillment to unbelieving Jews attending services at Corinth. Please listen my friend. Nowhere does the Bible state that speaking in tongues is a test of salvation or sanctification as maintained by some groups. While the gospel of John was written specifically to show people how to be saved (John 20:30-31) not one mention of tongues. And while God surely wants all Christians to be spiritually mature, 1 Cor. 12:29-30 clearly implies that not all will speak in tongues. To spin the purpose of tongues in another direction is disingenuous, or worse devious.

The Corinthian Chaos

It’s a bit ironic. Much of what we see passing for spirituality in the church today has been adopted from the antics of the most carnal church in the New Testament: the Corinthians. Paul the converted Rabbi, had become an apostle, missionary, evangelist-church planter preaching and teaching multitudes of Gentiles in multicultural settings (Rom. 11:13).

On his Second Missionary Journey all his skills and gifts were tested when he landed in Corinth for a year and one half. It was the capital of the Greek province of Achaia, located on a narrow isthmus 50 miles west of Athens, and served as the major sea trade route between Asia and Italy. By the time Paul penned his first letter to the church, Corinth was a cosmopolitan melting pot for some 400,000 diverse residents. The Jews had captured the banking industry from the heathen priests which of course brought about a constant influx of Jews into the city where tongues, the sign to unbelieving Jews, were necessary and used extensively to prove God was moving in the Gentile community.

Occult Practices and Ecstatic Utterances

The confusion about tongues in Corinth is easy to understand when you analyze their indigenous make-up. Besides Greeks and Jews, people of all nationalities, languages and dialects lived there or passed through. As a result, Corinth was religiously pluralistic and steeped in idolatry (1 Cor. 12:2) which ultimately morphed into an occult mecca where soothsayers, diviners, and spiritists filled the streets along with 1000 temple prostitutes who facilitated wild orgies at the altar of the sex goddess Aphrodite.

Unintelligible prayer “tongues” was common in the Corinthian community but it is not orthodox or Christian. It is a desperately faulty ruse built upon one verse-1 Cor. 14:14- by practitioners that stubbornly ignore its lack of Scriptural support and occult link. Aside from heretics like Montanus, it was not seen in church until the 1900’s (order New Age Charismatic Corruption).

When the gift of speaking in previously unlearned languages surfaced in Corinth, the reference point for those who heard it was tied to idolatry in two ways: To those who were natives of the area, it sounded like the same old gibberish they heard from occult worshipers at the altar of Aphrodite’s temple. But to Gentile visitors who were ignorant or unsaved it appeared as the ranting of rogue madmen (1 Cor. 14:23). So, in order to maintain authenticity and edification God instituted the gift of interpretation of tongues (1 Cor 12:10, 30; 14:5, 13, 26-28). Let me illustrate.

Let’s suppose you speak French and attend a multi-cultural Jewish-Gentile fellowship. One morning a gentleman across the aisle begins to preach in German which to you sounds like “gibberish.” However, if someone in the congregation can translate that German into French, you will be edified (1 Cor. 14:5, 13)

Conclusion

The gift of tongues is the miraculous ability to preach the gospel in a specific language and dialect previously unknown by the speaker (Acts 2:11). Corinth was the only church that had a problem with it. As you can see, their confusion stemmed from their multicultural worship and long history of occult experiences. Those today claiming that ecstatic utterances are the same tongues we find in the Bible are doing so at the expense of sound exegesis and a long history of orthodox truth. What passes for tongues, interpretation of tongues and the word of knowledge today is linked to soothsaying and divining in Israel (Deut. 18:14). When tongues are studied in context utilizing the recognized laws of hermeneutics and spiritual wisdom, we believe the serious student of Scripture will quickly see how real Biblical tongues explains itself.

 

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Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

September 27, 2016 Leave a comment

 

Old Scofield Study Bible [1]

Summary of the Old Testament doctrine of the Holy Spirit:

(1) The personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit appear from the attributes ascribed to Him, and from His works.

(2) He is revealed as sharing the work of creation and therefore omnipotent (Gen_1:2); (Job_26:13); (Job_33:4); (Psa_104:30) as omnipresent (Psa_139:7) as striving with men (Gen_6:3) as enlightening (Job_32:8) enduing with constructive skill; (Exo_28:3); (Exo_31:3) giving physical strength (Jdg_14:6); (Jdg_14:19) executive ability and wisdom; (Jdg_3:10); (Jdg_6:34); (Jdg_11:29); (Jdg_13:25) enabling men to receive and utter divine revelations; (Num_11:25); (2Sa_23:2) and, generally, as empowering the servants of God; (Psa_51:12); (Joe_2:28); (Mic_3:8); (Zec_4:6).

(3) He is called holy (Psa_51:11) good (Psa_143:10) the Spirit of judgment and burning (Isa_4:4) of Jehovah, of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, good, knowledge, the fear of the Lord (Isa_11:2) and of grace and supplications (Zec_12:10).

(4) In the Old Testament the Spirit acts in free sovereignty, coming upon men and even upon a dumb beast as He will, nor are the conditions set forth (as in the New Testament) by complying with which any one may receive the Spirit. The indwelling of every believer by the abiding Spirit is a New Testament blessing consequent upon the death and resurrection of Christ (Joh_7:39); (Joh_16:7); (Act_2:33); (Gal_3:1-6).

(5) The Old Testament contains prediction of a future pouring out of the Spirit upon Israel (Exo_37:14); (Exo_39:29) and upon “all flesh” (Joe_2:28); (Joe_2:29). The expectation of Israel, therefore, was twofold — of the coming of Messiah-Immanuel, and of such an effusion of the Spirit as the prophets described. See (Mat_1:18).

Summary of the New Testament Summary doctrine of the Holy Spirit:

See Note (See Scofield) – (Mal_2:15).

(1) The Holy Spirit is revealed as a divine Person. This is expressly declared (for example) (Joh_14:16); (Joh_14:17); (Joh_14:26); (Joh_15:26); (Joh_16:7-15); (Mat_28:19) and everywhere implied.

(2) The revelation concerning Him is progressive

(a) In the Old Testament,

(See Scofield) – (Mal_2:15),

He comes upon whom He will, apparently without reference to conditions in them

(b) During His earth-life, Christ taught His disciples (Luk_11:13) that they might receive the Spirit through prayer to the Father.

(c) At the close of His ministry He promised that He would Himself pray the Father, and that in answer to prayer the Comforter would come to abide (Joh_14:16); (Joh_14:17).

(d) On the evening of His resurrection He came to the disciples in the upper room, and breathed on them saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (Joh_20:22) but instructed them to wait before beginning their ministry till the Spirit should come upon them; (Luk_24:49); (Act_1:8).

(e) On the day of Pentecost the Spirit came upon the whole body of believers (Act_2:1-4).

(f) After Pentecost, so long as the Gospel was preached to Jews only, the Spirit was imparted to such as believed by the laying on of hands (Act_8:17); (Act_9:17).

(g) When Peter opened the door of the kingdom to the Gentiles (Acts 10), the Holy Spirit, without delay, or other condition than faith, was given to those who believed. (Act_10:44); (Act_11:15-18). This is the permanent fact for the entire church age. Every believer is born of the Spirit; (Joh_3:3); (Joh_3:6); (1Jo_5:1) indwelt by the Spirit, whose presence makes the believer’s body a temple; (1Co_6:19); (Rom_8:9-15); (1Jo_2:27); (Gal_4:6) and baptized by the Spirit; (1Co_12:12); (1Co_12:13); (1Jo_2:20); (1Jo_2:27) thus sealing him for God; (Eph_1:13); (Eph_4:30).

(3) The New Testament distinguishes between having the Spirit, which is true of all believers, and being filled with the Spirit, which is the believer’s privilege and duty (compare (Act_2:4) with (Act_4:29-31); (Eph_1:13); (Eph_1:14) with (Eph_5:18). — “One baptism, many fillings.”

(4) The Holy Spirit is related to Christ in His Conception (Mat_1:18-20); (Luk_1:35) baptism; (Mat_3:16); (Mar_1:10); (Luk_3:22); (Joh_1:32); (Joh_1:33) walk and service (Luk_4:1); (Luk_4:14) resurrection (Rom_8:11); and as His witness throughout this age; (Joh_15:26); (Joh_16:8-11); (Joh_16:13); (Joh_16:14).

(5) The Spirit forms the church (Mat_16:18),

(See Scofield) – (Heb_12:23),

by baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1Co_12:12); (1Co_12:13); imparts gifts for service to every member of that body (1Co_12:7-11); (1Co_12:27); (1Co_12:30); guide the members in their service; (Luk_2:27); (Luk_4:1); (Act_16:6); (Act_16:7) and is Himself the power of that service; (Act_1:8); (Act_2:4); (1Co_2:4).

(6) The Spirit abides in the company of believers who constitute a local church, making of them, corporately, a temple (1Co_3:16); (1Co_3:17).

(7) Christ indicates a threefold personal relationship of the Spirit to the believer: “With”, “In”, “upon” (Joh_14:17); (Luk_24:49); (Act_1:8). “With” indicates the approach of God to the soul, convicting of sin (Joh_16:9) presenting Christ as the object of faith (Joh_16:14) imparting faith (Eph_2:8) and regenerating (Joh_3:3-16). “In” describes the abiding presence of the Spirit in the believer’s body (1Co_6:19) to give victory over the flesh; (Rom_8:2-4); (Gal_5:16); (Gal_5:17) to create the Christian character (Gal_5:22); (Gal_5:23) to help infirmities (Rom_8:26) to inspire prayer (Eph_6:18) to give conscious access to God (Eph_2:18) to actualize to the believer his sonship (Gal_4:6) to apply the Scripture in cleansing and sanctification; (Eph_5:26); (2Th_2:13); (1Pe_1:2) to comfort and intercede; (Act_9:31); (Rom_8:26) and to reveal Christ (Joh_16:14).

(8) Sins against the Spirit committed by unbelievers are: To blaspheme (Mat_12:31); resist (Act_7:51); insult (Heb_10:29); “despite,” Literally, insult). Believers’ sins against the Spirit are: To grieve Him by allowing evil in heart or life (Eph_4:30); (Eph_4:31) and to quench Him by disobedience (1Th_5:19).

The right attitude toward the Spirit is yieldedness to His sway in walk and service, and in constant willingness that He shall “put away” whatever grieves Him or hinders His power (Eph_4:31).

(9) The symbols of the Spirit are:

(a) oil (Joh_3:34); (Heb_1:9)

(b) water, (Joh_7:38); (Joh_7:39),

(c) wind; (Act_2:2); (Joh_3:8),

(d) fire (Act_2:3),

(e) a dove (Mat_3:16),

(f) a seal; (Eph_1:13); (Eph_4:30),

(g) an earnest or pledge (Eph_1:14).

[1] Copied from the notes found in the Old Scofield Study Bible. We have these Old Scofield Study Bibles in bonded leather, KJV, available for a gift to PMI of $34 to help us minister to you and others. Please remember, when you order from us, you help support us. Stamps are welcome.

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit – The Unpardonable Sin

September 27, 2016 Leave a comment

James Melton

During His physical life on earth, Jesus often exercised His Deity by performing miracles through the Divine power of the Holy Ghost. In Matthew 12:22-32, the Pharisees witness one of the Lord’s many miracles. Then, instead of believing on Jesus, they accused Him of performing miracles through the power of the Devil. He then told them that men could be forgiven for blasphemy (evil and hurtful speaking) against men and against Him, but that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost could NEVER be forgiven. A companion reference for this is found in Mark 3:30, where we are told WHY Jesus said this to them: “Because they said, he hath an unclean spirit.”

It is important to note that nothing is said about this particular sin after Calvary. It is only mentioned during the life of Christ on earth, while He was working genuine miracles by the power of the Holy Ghost. It is also needful to understand that blasphemy is a sin of the TONGUE. A person could not commit blasphemy with thoughts or actions. It was strictly a sin of the tongue, and it could only be committed by openly accusing Jesus Christ of working through Satanic power.

Some teach that this sin may still be committed today, but there is no scriptural support for this. In fact, when Jesus later speaks of the coming of the Holy Ghost to indwell believers, He said that the Holy Ghost would convict the world of three things: sin, righteousness, and judgment. He then said that the Holy Ghost would convict the world of SIN for ONE REASON: “because they believe not on me.” (John 16:7-11) It seems that if blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was to be the greatest sin of this age, that Jesus would have used this opportunity to warn us about it, but He warned us about UNBELIEF instead.

Some Charismatic groups, who profess to be LED by the Holy Ghost, are in the habit of accusing anyone who opposes them of blaspheming the Holy Ghost. For example, some Charismatics would say that I have blasphemed the Holy Ghost in this booklet, because I have written things in opposition to their practice of speaking in unknown tongues [1] and faith healing. That’s baloney. Even if they WERE doing all these things by the Holy Ghost (which they are not), it still would not be unpardonable to speak against it. Many people have spoken against great Christian works and then gotten saved later. The Apostle Paul is a good example (Acts 8-9). The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from ALL SIN (I John 1:9), and if you want to commit the unpardonable sin in this age, then you will have to reject Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Go ahead and reject Christ, and when you stand before God at the White Throne Judgment, you will NOT be forgiven.

Now we do realize that a person can reject Christ for so long that God the Holy Ghost pulls away and stops convicting that individual. In which case the individual never receives Christ, never receives forgiveness of sin, and goes to Hell (Pro. 1:23-33; Isa. 55:6-7; John 12:37-43), but only God knows when a person crosses that line. No man on this planet has any scriptural authority for telling someone that God will never forgive them for their sins. [2]

[1] For further study you may order PMI tract Speaking in Tongues by Dr. Mike.

[2] Copyright © 1998  James L. Melton- The Bible Believer’s Handbook of Heresies

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Experience vs. Evidence

Dr. Mike Johnston

Jude wrote: Earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 1:3). One reason we believe so strongly in this is because today there is a neo-Montanus- [1] teaching that believers in Christ don’t receive all of the Holy Spirit at salvation. They must subsequently seek and tarry for a second blessing called the baptism of the Holy Spirit [2] in order to receive power and intimacy with the Lord. But are they right? We believe in an all out effort to protect a dogma, this group has placed experience above evidence thereby leading them into three cardinal errors skewing an otherwise simple teaching: they mistranslate a key definition, they misunderstand a key distinction, and they misapply a key doctrine.

They mistranslate a key definition: “baptize”

The science of rightly dividing the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) is called hermeneutics. It requires us to follow rules in order to avoid chaos and advance integrity. Scripture studied under the lens of the evidence, is called exegesis. Scripture viewed under the lens of experience is called eisegesis. One of the often-breached principles leading to eisegesis is that of using an experience to redefine a Biblical truth. For example, the English word baptize, which is taken from the Greek word baptizo. Thayer’s primary definition for all 80 of its occurrences is “to dip . . . to immerse, to submerge,” which is obvious to anyone attending a Scriptural baptism service. While Charismatics allow this definition for most passages, they take exception when it is used in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. Here they redefine baptizo to mean an experience producing some or all of the following manifestations: ecstatic utterances, animal noises, screaming and screeching, divination (word of knowledge), [3] the inability to stand, and uncomely convulsions. All these clearly set testimony (experience) above truth (evidence) opening the way for the following error.

They misunderstand a key distinction: between baptism and filling of the Spirit

When John the Baptist prophesied he (Christ) shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire[4] (Matthew 3:11; see also Acts 1:5), he was alluding to Christ’s later promise and purpose for sending the Holy Spirit (John 14-16): to comfort and teach us (14:26; 16:7), convict us (16:8-11), guide us (16:13), reveal things to us about Himself (16:13-15) and to live with us forever (14:16). However, at the time He made this pledge, the Holy Spirit was a temporary OT enabler God gave His servants for specific tasks (Num. 11:25; 24:2; Jud. 3:10; 6:34; etc). He did not permanently indwell anyone (1 Sam. 16:14; Psalm 51:11), nor had He been poured out on the masses. But that, according to Joel, would change as a sign of the last days (2:28-32).

Now please understand something about Jewish temperament: they were skeptical by nature and always required proof of everything; signs (Ex. 4; Matt. 12:38; Mark 8:11; 1 Cor. 1:22). Therefore to confirm that the outpouring of the Spirit was in fact taking place, God provided signs (Acts 2:19): there was the “sound-sign” of wind (Acts 2:2; see also John 3:8) and the “sight-sign” of tongues [5] of fire (Acts 2:3-4; 1 Cor. 14:22) which gave them the ability to preach Christ in foreign languages they’d never learned (Acts 2:6-11).

On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out (Acts 2), three first-time events happened simultaneously that constantly confuses Charismatics: (1) the mass gathering of 120 were all baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ permanently (Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5; 1 Cor. 12:13); (2) they were all indwelt by Holy Spirit which was also permanent (Acts 2:4; John 14:16-17; Eph. 1:13-14); and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) which would be (and still is) contingent upon not individually grieving [6] or quenching [7] Him (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19). By failing to make the distinction between the filling of the Spirit (which is conditional- Eph. 4:30), and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (which is unconditional- 1 Cor. 12:13) Charismatics naturally gravitate to the next overarching error.

They misapply the key doctrine: the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

As stated, Joel prophesied the outpouring of the Spirit with verifiable signs (2:28-32) and the Lord Jesus promised that it would happen after His departure (John 14-16). Now this is where we need to let Scripture define its own terms. Jesus told His converted Jewish followers that one day He would build an organization of Spirit-inhabited people to crash the gates of Hell; the church (Matt. 16:18). After saying that, nothing else was mentioned until just before His ascension. One of the Lord’s final commands was a quote from John the Baptist early in His ministry (Matt. 3:11): For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence (Acts 1:5). The Lord defined for us what the baptism (baptizo) of the Holy Spirit was/is; not an emotionally charged experience of uncontrollable barking, screaming, thrashing, and gibberish, but the Pentecost outpouring when Christ the Spirit baptizer would baptizo all believers into His own Body (Col. 1:18). Paul tells us: For by one Spirit are we all baptized (baptizo) into one body . . . and have been all made to drink into one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Through this Sovereign, once for all work- the baptism of the Holy Spirit- every born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is now kept (1 Pet. 1:4-5), preserved (Jude 1:1), saved, safe, and sealed forever (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30). Nothing can change that.

Now someone will undoubtedly want to interject the post-resurrection appearance of Christ to His disciples where He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost (John 20:22). Then, of course, on Pentecost the Holy Spirit was again given. However, within the context we find the interpretation. Remember, until the Pentecostal Spirit outpouring where the church was actually formed (Acts 2:1-4; 1 Cor. 12:13), men lived under the Old Covenant and in another dispensation. [8] The Holy Spirit did not permanently indwell God’s people, He was temporary. These believers needed power for ministry until the permanent Pentecostal outpouring and Jesus provided it.

Final thought

My beloved friend I hope you’ve learned that when the experience doesn’t line up with the evidence, the former must be rejected. Paul warned: Be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive (Ephesians 4:14). Christians are today in Christ (Rom. 3:24), in Him (1 Cor. 8:6), in the beloved    (Eph. 1:6), etc., because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That’s what the term means; that’s what it has always meant according to God’s Word.

[1] Montanus was a 2nd century teacher labeled a heretic by early church fathers for promoting the same premises Charismatics are getting away with today. You may order our shocking expose: The New Age Charismatic Seed of Corruption.

[2] Actually, some use baptism of, baptized with, baptized in, etc, in the course of their teaching.

[3] They call this “word of knowledge yet cannot find a single Biblical occurrence to support their unfounded claims.

[4] This prophecy was perfectly fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit baptized the first 120 Christians into the Body of Christ, filled them with the Spirit, and gave them the ability to speak and preach in languages (aka unknown tongues) they hadn’t previously studied or known (Acts 2:1-11; see also Mark 16:17).

[5] For a further explanation please order our tract entitled: Speaking in Tongues: The Core of Corinthian Christianity

[6] Doing what He does not want us to do

[7] Not doing what He wants us to do

[8] You may want to order our tract: The Seven Dispensations.

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